why you (and I) can’t do double-unders


I’m talking to a friend about visiting his CrossFit box and keeping him company for a workout. “Ok, but promise you won’t make fun of my kips and my double-unders!”, I ask.

“Ha. So you have a DUI, eh”, he grins.

“A what???”

“DUI = double-unders impairment”,  he explains patiently.

Indeed. It’s been months, and my double-unders got worse, not better. 🙂 I am really good at whipping myself with a rope though. 

So if you are struggling with the same issue, and cannot do double-unders, here’s a possible reason why:

  1. your rope is too short
  2. your rope is too long
  3. your rope is too cheap
  4. your rope is worn out and catches on the floor
  5. your shoes have too much traction, so the rope catches on them
  6. your shoelaces are too long
  7. your pants are too baggy
  8. you are not moving your wrists fast enough
  9. you are not jumping high enough
  10. your rhythm is off

J.P. Morgan once said that a man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason. It is perhaps telling that J.P. Morgan was a banker (cue loud laughter). Morgan, as in Morgan Stanley – a global financial services firm. But the sentiment stands.

All reasons above are good reasons for why you (and I) can’t do double-unders.

But here’s the real reason I can’t do double-unders…

I haven’t done enough double-unders.

A client, who is an Olympic lifting coach, learned during one of her certifications that it takes 5,000 snatches to actually get a decent snatch. To feel that movement. To develop muscle memory. 

Malcolm Gladwell actually says something similar in his “Outliers” – mastering a specific task takes 10,000 hours of practice. While I definitely hope it will take me less than that to get a hang of the basic movement itself, I’d better start jumping…


In other breaking news…

I CAN KIP. Not very well. Not for very long.

But I can fucking kip.

Few more months of this, and I will feel fully justified in making fun of the kipping pull-ups.

Signing off,


Posted May 13, 2013

5 responses to “why you (and I) can’t do double-unders”

  1. […] be able to do 20 double-unders in a row […]

  2. […] This is the sequel post to the one I posted last May, entitled “Why you (and I) can’t do double-unders”. […]

  3. […] 30k participate in Run for the Toad relay trail race complete at least a month of CrossFit do 20 double-unders in a row (as of 02/20/14 max.38) learn how to chop wood go to Burning Man try improv feel […]

  4. […] this post? Check out my article on why I initially could not do double-unders, how I learned to do them, and how squats fix […]

  5. […] my quest to master double-unders, I spent a lot of time with a speed rope. In fact, I used to spend ten […]

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